“YOU are a survivor; it doesn't stop at the hit that he hit you. It's just something that happened to you. You are a survivor. Yes, it may slow you down for a little bit, but you can get up and you can still move.”
This was the advice from Suzette Dawkins, assistant vice-president of First Global Bank (FGB), as she addressed the FGB Women Survivors Empowerment Luncheon at Eden Gardens Wellness Resort & Spa last Friday.
The event, which was held in partnership with Woman Inc, treated more than 30 survivors of domestic violence or abuse to an afternoon of motivation, entertainment, fine food and a bracelet making workshop with The Original Arm Candy.
In her 'Survivor mindset' empowerment speech, Dawkins used the acronym ARMY to speak about the critical stages of overcoming abuse. She spoke about the importance of Accepting what has happened; how a woman Responds to abuse; Moving out of an abusive situation; and saying 'Yes' to herself and new opportunities.
“As someone who has gone through challenges and overcome trauma, I wanted to put a face to this — as someone who has stood my ground and had the support that I needed in order to overcome the challenges. It's very personal to me. Luckily for me, I had people around me who could help me to transition into the woman I am today,” she told the women.
President and CEO of First Global Bank, Mariame McIntosh Robinson, then took the ladies through a session geared towards achieving financial independence. She used herself as an example of how women could assess their spending and balance their budgets.
“It's not about dwelling on what has happened,” she said. “It's about how we can move forward. I'm really excited to be here today, to let these women know that these things happen to all of us, from all backgrounds.”
Tassia Stewart, assistant manager of communications at FGB, said the event was being held under the GraceKennedy Group Day of Care programme.
“Generally, we would do something centred around children, but because we are just coming out of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Domestic Violence Awareness Month (October), and of course, in November we observe the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and also because of so much going on with our women and children in recent times, we decided to fete them and celebrate them today,” she said.
One of the honoured guests, who gave her name as Timisha, shared with All Woman that being at the event was a reminder that she should be grateful for her life, after she survived an incident in which she was stabbed and had to be hospitalised.
“It shows that I am strong, and that I overcame, and I'm glad to be here because I can empower other young women out there just like me who have been through abuse, bad times and domestic violence. And sometimes I'll say I'm strong, but without my friends and without people around to cheer me up, a lot of times I break down and ask myself why that happened to me. So, I thank God that I lived to be here and be with my two children,” she said.